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‘Tis the season for spring training! Many of our ITS team members are avid runners/bikers/swimmers, and use GPS watches to track workouts and record valuable metrics to optimize their workouts. Our team shared the watches they use to track their workouts, and what they like or dislike about the watches they use.
The Apple Watch is a great option for many athletes. While primarily a smart watch, the Apple Watch has many features and downloadable apps to allow it to double as a fitness and GPS watch.
What ITS team members say…
- Battery is unpredictable and sometimes does not last a 20+ mile run.
- Lacks capabilities to read and interpret the data it collects. This can be solved by installing numerous apps, but it doesn’t work as seamlessly as some dedicated GPS Fitness watches would.
- No traditional lap/reset button
- Widely used and allows interaction with friends who also have the watch.
- Less bulky than most other GPS watches, and better for everyday wear.
The Garmin Vivoactive lets you download music directly to your watch so you can connect Bluetooth headphones and listen to music while leaving your phone at home. This Garmin GPS watch also has a lot of smart watch features like downloading apps; Garmin Pay, which allows you to make convenient payments through your watch; and customizing features. It also features preloaded sports apps including yoga, running, swimming, strength training and many more. If the watch doesn’t have the sport you’re looking for preloaded, you can create or download custom ones.
What ITS team members say…
- This watch is great for listening to music as you run because you don’t need to carry your phone. Bluetooth headphones connect directly to the watch.
- Low price point.
- Since this watch is at a low price point some features are cut out. It’s a pretty basic multisport watch. For sports beyond running, the features are pretty minimal.
The Garmin Forerunner is a multisport watch great for any activity. A member of our staff has the 920XT model that he likes to use for swimming. This watch has stroke recognition, counts your laps and records your distance. It’s dedicated buttons make it easy to operate when wet. This watch is also great for running and biking. There are a couple of newer models now in this series, the 935XT and the 945XT, along with the little brother/sister the 735XT. These watches have a lot of the same features, but with updated appearances. The 920XT has a square face, while the 935XT and 945XT have round faces. The buttons are also a bit different to avoid accidental presses. The 920XT still has an impressive battery life that will outlast is successors. The 735XT is smaller, is at a lower price-point, and like the 935XT and 945 XT has an integrated optical heart rate reader. However, you do lose some of the bells and whistles at the lower price-point.
The Garmin Forerunner 245 is a multisport watch great for running, swimming, and biking. For swimming, this watch will track your laps (as long as you’re swimming in a pool and not open water) and detect your stoke. There is also a music version available that will allow you to connect Bluetooth earbuds directly to the watch. The child of an ITS team member uses this model.
What an ITS team member says about their kids’ watch...
- My 12 year old son enjoys running 5k races and training for them.
- He also participates in swim team and is getting into triathlons – the swim workout data/option pointed him toward this model.
- He enjoys syncing with Strava, a social platform for athletes, and participating in challenges.
Not in the watch department but still a recommended product from our bikers at ITS is the Garmin Edge 520. This product is basically a computer for your bike. The device offers in-ride challenges through Strava, a social platform for athletes. Your starred Strava segments will sync with the 520 and give you live feedback during your ride. Through Strava, you can also see leaderboard rankings on the Garmin Edge once you complete a segment. Our ITS team member said he likes to use this for his bike rides instead of a watch because it can be mounted on the handlebars and he can more easily interact with the device there than if he was wearing a device on his wrist.
Garmin’s fitness tracker for kids is also an entertaining experience on app. After 60 minutes of activity, kids can unlock adventure in companion app, making exercise a rewarding experience.
What an ITS team member says about their kids’ watch...
- My 7 year old son can independently track his movement during the day.
- He can toggle through to the stop watch on his own and start/stop workouts. He enjoys timing himself when running, biking, scootering or even just doing chores.
- He enjoys the companion app that allows him to earn points after completing chores, meeting step goals, etc. Together we can plan a menu for redeeming the points.
For women who don’t have pockets when they exercise, the Koala Clip comes recommended by out staff.
Garmin Running Dynamics Pod. Pairs with your Garmin GPS watch and computes and transmits running dynamics.
Strava. A social platform for runners and bikers. Participate in challenges, and complete for a top spot on the leaderboard.
Training Peaks. Features training plans and calendars for all athletes.
Today is National Password Day! Take some time to evaluate your password schemes and savviness with some tips from ITS.
Have I Been Pwned
Each year, ITS plays host to student-tour groups and responds to invitations to attend career fairs and guest speaker events. One of our favorite things to share is the “Have I Been Pwned” website.
On this site, users are able to enter their email address and see if their email address has been included in any website hacks/breaches. If the site indicator turns red, this means that your email address and other associated data was/is vulnerable. It may have been a widely publicized hack, like the Target breach in 2013, or something much smaller and off the radar. At any rate, it helps us drive home our point to students: password safety matters.
If you try your addresses on the site and discover that you were part of a breach or paste, what should you do?
- Check the small details – what information was posted about you? Was it demographic information like your address, phone number, etc.? This information was likely sold to websites like whitepages.com, spokeo, etc. You can contact them directly to request that your information be delisted.
- If the hack included a password, you should change your password on any accounts that may have used the same password.
This brings us to the prevention conversation:
- If you are using the same password/username/email address combination in multiple locations, it is likely you will face multiple exposures. Hackers with your credentials will try them on multiple websites.
- Your personal data is valuable – when you answer Facebook quizzes and include the first model of your car, the city of your birth, etc., you are giving up valuable pieces of information to databases on the dark web.
- In our student presentations, we also illustrate how Facebook quiz data can be just as helpful as following Rumplestilskin home. Your favorite team is the Hawkeyes and you were born in 1980…is your password Hawkfan80?
- Your personal and demographic data can be just as valuable as your password.
- Hackers purchase information from these databases and compile information dossiers. Eventually, they have enough information to access your bank, steal your identity, answer your iTunes security questions, etc.
Password Safety Recommendations
- Consider using a password manager – Google and iCloud have built-in password managers, LastPass and 1Password are some additional options. When using a password manager, use the crazy passwords that it recommends for you!
- Use two-factor authentication where possible – this sends a text message or one-time password to a two-factor app on your phone.
- Use a combination of uppercase, lowercase, numbers, and special characters
- DO NOT REUSE PASSWORDS
- Try using letters that represent a memorable phrase: If I were Dorothy from the Wizard of Oz, maybe my password phrase would be There’s no place like home! Translated into password lingo with some added special characters: TnoPlH0m3!
- Take a look at some other fun password phrase schemes below:
Good communication is something that can be difficult in a remote work environment. Considering convenient ways to communicate that mimic the typical feel of office conversation, is a good first step towards better remote communication.
Typically, there are three different types of communication that happen in the workplace. Asynchronous communication, synchronous communication, and in-person communication. In the office these are natural occurrences, but in a remote environment you need to be more intentional with creating these interactions.
Asynchronous communication is a type of communication that is not synchronized. Rather, this communication is a back and forth exchange that happens in writing such as a chat message or email. One party can send a message at their convenience and the other party can reply at their convenience. Since the recipient of the message can respond at their convenience, this isn’t the best method to use when the conversation or issue is time-sensitive.
Synchronous communication is a synchronized type of communication. For this type of communication, two or more people need to agree to communicate using the same method at the same time. This type of communication happens in a phone call, video calls, etc. When an issue is pressing and time-sensitive, synchronous communication is the best communication method to use.
It’s hard for in-person communication to happen organically in a remote work environment due to the obvious fact that no one is working in the same office. For the remote work environment, in-person communication can be created through organized social events, retreats, or conferences. With the current shutdown that we are in, however, in-person interaction is not advised. The next best thing to in-person communication is face-to-face video calls. Schedule a lot of those and encourage employees to schedule some with each other as well. It’s easier to collaborate and solve problems when face-to-face. In-person communication is also important for continuing to build relationships with colleagues, so it’s good to have a way for employees to continue doing this even when they can’t meet in person.
Tips for Great Communication
Give each method a purpose
Choose just a few methods of communication. Having multiple ways of communicating can become overwhelming. Checking multiple sources for messages is time-consuming, and some communication attempts will most likely go unseen. Instead, choose one or two communication methods for each type of communication (asynchronous and synchronous) that would work best for your work environment.
ITS uses 3CX IP phone software for our communication needs. 3CX can be installed on physical desk phones for in-office use, and can also make remote communication easy. Some employees can work remotely, and some on-site and still be able to achieve seamless communication. ITS uses the 3CX WebClient when working remote. WebClient has chat, meeting, conference, and phone features within one tool. You can also view status of users, and set your own to Available, Away, or Out of Office. With 3CX, ITS can use chat and email for asynchronous communication, and phone and virtual meetings/conferences for synchronous.
Be cautious of tone.
When a large majority of communication happens over email, it can be susceptible to misinterpretation and misunderstanding. Without the normal visual cues like body language and verbal cues like intonation, messages can come across differently than intended. Over-communication can help with this by making a message as clear as possible. Some people also find that inserting emojis help, but that could depend on company’s culture and whether that is seen as unprofessional.
Use calendaring and task management tools
When the team isn’t all in the same location, it can be hard to know when someone is or isn’t available. It can also be hard to know what’s getting done and progress on group projects. This is where sharing calendars and schedules can be helpful. This way you can make sure you’re on the same page as teammates with group projects and not contacting anyone when they are busy with “life things.”
Set up a virtual “water cooler”
When working remotely, the team can miss out on a lot of normal office social activity. When in the office, you have the opportunity to chat about life with others over lunch or as you walk by their desk. This typical office chat builds relationships and bonds between colleagues and is important to creating a fun work-culture. You can mimic this by setting up a virtual “water cooler” for remote staff. On-site staff and remote staff alike would enjoy popping in to the virtual “water cooler” and catching up with and getting to know colleagues. To create this sense of community, the virtual virtual “water cooler” could be a virtual meeting, a group chat, or even a Facebook group.
The feeling of being disconnected is popular for remote workers. Some may feel as though their work goes unacknowledged. This can be prevented by taking time to celebrate successes whether they are large or small. If a group finished a long project, take the time to congratulate them by sending a quick chat message or email. Or if someone has a big change in their personal life, take a moment to ask them about it. Any engagement with remote staff will change their outlook and satisfaction in their job, and energize them to continue doing a great job.
AnyMeeting is a top of the line collaboration tool great for remote workers. It’s simple-to-use platform has little to no learning curve and will have you connecting with colleagues in a matter of minutes. AnyMeeting allows you to host or attend meetings from anywhere with their desktop and mobile apps. With three different plans, you can find a video conferencing service that best suits you at an exceptional value.
AnyMeeting enables users to hold unlimited web conferences with up to 30 participants, or web and phone conferences with up to 200 participants. Each conference or meeting is started with a custom URL and also features a meeting chat. AnyMeeting Video Conferencing Pro allows for custom branding, has unlimited recording cloud storage, is HIPPA compliant, and also features end-to-end encryption. Learn more at https://www.intermedia.net/anymeeting-video-conferencing.
ITS has an established connection with Intermedia. Give us a call today and we can get you set up to experience the difference that a high quality collaboration tool can make.